Boston Duck Tours

There are many things to see and do in Boston, but the Duck Tours are something different in the way of entertainment. These are not the usual walking tours around the city, visiting historic attractions along the way; these take you across land and water. Andy Wilson, Massachusetts’ small business person of the year in 1997, invested $1,000,000 and launched Boston Duck Tours in 1994.

The tours are taken on a “duck,” not the kind you’re envisioning, but on a “duyk,” the name of that strange looking amphibious landing vehicle, half boat and half truck. Used in WWII, these “duyks,” GMC trucks enclosed in watertight shells, played a big part in the Allied beach invasions where they could go easily from water to land. The interesting history of the “duyks” has been well preserved in the Museum of Science with a special exhibit, photographs, and films.

Boston Duck Tours has an entire fleet of these “duyks” and a full complement of “conducktors,” who serve as drivers and tour guides. The “conducktors,” managed by Major Tom Foolery, an ex-carny, are all costumed characters with comical names such as Vincent Van Duck, Captain Courageous, Rosie the Riveter, PennyWise, and Merriweather Byrd. All the vehicles or ducks have names too including Charlie River, Haymarket Hannah, Beacon Hilda, and Back Bay Bertha. The drivers narrate the tour and provide lots of history and information on the city, as they take you on a hilarious journey through the narrow streets of Boston and onto the Charles River. Boston Duck Tours depart from either the Museum of Science or the Prudential Center and Tower, Boston’s second tallest building, and go past all the major historical sites, with a final landing on the Charles River for an unforgettable view of the Boston and Cambridge skyline.

The Duck Tour route takes visitors from the Boston Common and the Public Gardens, the oldest botanical gardens in the U.S., to the Park Street Church, King’s Chapel and the Old Granary Burial Ground, and the Old South Meeting House. From here the duck goes down the Charles River to the Bunker Hill Monument and Boston Harbor, the site of the USS Constitution, the oldest warship that remains afloat Back on land, the tour takes you to the Holocaust Memorial, with its six glass enclosures representing each of the Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Next on the tour is the Oyster House, the oldest operating restaurant in the U.S., Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Marketplace, and the TD Banknorth Garden (former Fleet Center), Boston’s premier entertainment arena. The Duck Tour continues on land past the old North Church and through Beacon Hill, Boston’s exclusive neighborhood. Nearing the end of the tour, visitors arrive at the Bull & Finch Pub, the inspiration for the hit TV show Cheers, and on to Newbury Street, Boston’s finest shopping district. In Copley Square we view the Boston Public Library, the world famous Trinity Church, a masterpiece of American architecture, and the John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in New England.

Ticket Prices (2007): Adults – $45.48 (2006 – $33.75); children 3 — 11 $31.30, (2006 – $24.30); Under 2 – $10.83. Handicapped: $12.00. Group rates available. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Boston Duck Tour Ticket Booths at the Prudential Center, Museum of Science, or Faneuil Hall.

Tour Hours: 7 days a week, March — November (all ducks are heated). Tours leave every half hour beginning at 9:00 a.m., until one hour before sunset; tour length approximately 80 — 90 minutes. Wheelchair accessible, cameras and video cams permitted.

Phones: 415-474-9855 or 1-877-474-3127 (toll free reservations).

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